Happy Darvin Ham was hired as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston’s Jaylen Brown says ‘I don’t understand what took so long’

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In a professional sports league where the majority of players are people of color, the hiring of Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers helped push the NBA to have 15 of their 30 head coaching positions occupied by Black men, Ham’s hire one of eight such around the league to hit this new, important mark for the league.

But for Boston Celtics star forward Jaylen Brown, it isn’t just something to be happy about, the fact that it took more than three-quarters of a century to happen is something that sheds light on wider systemic issues that transcend basketball. Brown was asked his thoughts about the Ham hire at NBA Finals Media Day on Wednesday, and the Georgia native had plenty to say in this vein.

“If you ask me, I don’t understand what took so long,” he suggested.

“To be honest, I think that, of course, is a great thing to see,” he added. “And you see a lot of coaches that are getting opportunity flourish in these moments.”

“(Celtics head coach) Ime (Udoka) is a product of that. A first-year head coach in the finals, which I don’t know how many times it has been done before. But just overall, I think that’s just an example of not just in the NBA, but in our society as a whole, opportunity is important. And a lot of times … there are things that systemically go on that keep people out of positions that may go unnoticed, like opportunities, et cetera. But those make the biggest differences in the world, not being able to go to school and not be able to get in school and not be able to get jobs, not be able to get houses, not be able to do things that you should have the right to do, obviously, is important.”

“So, of course, this is the NBA, we’re talking about that,” explained Brown. “I think that can be related to a grand scheme of things that goes on in America.”

Before this season, the league had JB Bickerstaff (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwayne Casey (Detroit Pistons), Tyronne Lue (Los Angeles Clippers), Nate McMillan (Atlanta Hawks), Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers), and Stephen Silas (Houston Rockets) as established Black head coaches.

Now, Ham joins Chauncey Billups (Portland Trail Blazers), Mike Brown (Sacramento Kings), Willie Green (New Orleans Pelicans), Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks), Jamahl Mosely (Orlando Magic), Ime Udoka (Boston Celtics), and Wes Unseld Jr. (Washington Wizards).

As the league’s coaching ranks begin to be filled by people of color, the next challenge will be to see a more representative collection of front office hires around the league as well.

With programs in place by the league to push that process along and positive growth at the coaching level, positive changes are beginning to take hold in the NBA.

But, as Brown points out, it can be hard not to wonder why it has taken so long in the first place.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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